Data Center Outsourcing: Five Questions to Ask

Author: Mel Melara

The demand for data center space is expected to grow by 10% per year until 2030, Add this to the hyper growth we just experienced in 2023 and this will create a unique and complex landscape for companies looking for data center outsourcing partners.  

The decision to outsource data center operations is typically driven by cost, as building and maintaining modern data centers is costly. Outsourcing removes the need for significant capital investment, including real estate, physical infrastructure, and hardware. Additionally, IT talent to manage these solutions is expensive and becoming harder and harder to source. 

Data center outsourcing enables your company to only pay for its needed resources, avoiding additional expenses to maintain excess capacity. Over time, your data compute and storage can slide up or down as your business evolves.  

Plus, your business can access all the resources needed for high performance, quickly and efficiently. Issues like redundancy, shifting workloads, low latency, congestion, and network/cloud connectivity can all be easily managed using a customer portal. 

By outsourcing, you’re not required to staff your data center, and you’ll have 24/7 support and monitoring, which means you can be confident that your IT infrastructure is reliable and available.  

You’ll also have additional layers of security to ensure your data is protected with everything from intrusion detection to firewalls to regular security audits. Data centers have robust physical protection, including surveillance cameras, security personnel, and biometric controls.  

While the case for data center outsourcing is clear, several considerations go into selecting the right partner.  

Questions to Ask Before Data Center Outsourcing 

Before looking at potential partners for your next data center project, here are five questions to ask any provider.  
 

#1. How do you handle disaster recovery and backup? 

If you’re considering data center outsourcing, knowing what backup and disaster recovery plans are in place is crucial.  

You must be confident that your data center provider is ready to act quickly with minimal disruption during an unforeseen event. You should inquire about geographic redundancy critical to disaster recovery and data residency requirements. Also, you should ask how often they will test the environment to ensure operability, and what are the perimeters of a successful test plan. 

 

#2. How do you handle compliance with industry-specific regulations? 

If you’re in an industry with specific regulatory requirements for sensitive data like HIPAA, PCI or GDPR, you want to be 100% certain your data center partner can ensure compliance. You want to know if they are meeting industry standards and doing anything over and above. Have them provide industry references and use cases.  

 

#3. What security measures are in place? 

All you need to do is look at the news to know that data-related security issues — like data breaches — are ongoing. Data is the lifeblood of your organization, so this is one area where you can’t afford to incur any risk.  

With remote and hybrid work becoming the norm, this issue has even higher stakes. When discussing security measures, you’ll want to know what is in place for physical and cyber security at the data center, like data protection solutions for ransomware mitigation. 

 

#4. What is their typical Service Level Agreement? What is their uptime record and who is responsible for what action? 

Uptime is crucial to ensuring a business can run effectively and efficiently, so know their SLAs as well as their historical average uptimes, allowing you to see if they can deliver the availability you need.  

Data centers outsourcers have what’s called a RACI (responsible, accountable, consulted & Informed) document outlining the responsibilities of the customer and the responsibility of the operator.  Knowing who is acting during an outage is key before it happens. 

 

#5. What are your scalability options? 

Your company’s compute needs will evolve. If you’ve decided that data center outsourcing is right for your company, you’ll want to ensure your data center provider is flexible to grow with you.  If you need to move some workloads into a colocation or into a public Cloud, flexibility from a contractual perspective is key to addressing the needs of the business.  

Conversely, sometimes business priorities can lead to a need to scale down, so you’ll want to understand how your data center provider can accommodate your shifting priorities.  

Select the Right Provider for Your Next Data Center Project 

While the many benefits of data center outsourcing are clear, sourcing and selecting the right partner can be challenging in a market with rapidly growing demand. However, with the right partner and the proper support, you can find a data center solution that meets your organization’s hybrid cloud needs without compromising security or performance. 

Download The Data Center Decision Guide below. In this guide, you’ll learn the top 10 considerations for any data center project based on successfully executing over 1200 projects for our clients.  

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